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Nigeria, 3 Other Countries May Become Vaccine Production Hubs In Africa – Okonjo-Iweala






(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – Director-General of World Trade Organization (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that Africa is currently working with the European Union (EU) and other partners to help create regional vaccine manufacturing hubs in South Africa, Senegal and Rwanda, with Nigeria under consideration.

Dr. Okonjo-Iweala disclosed this during a virtual meeting. She harped on the need for equitable access to vaccine, particularly during a global pandemic.

“We have now seen that over-centralization of vaccine production capacity is incompatible with equitable access in a crisis situation.

 “Regional production hubs, in tandem with open supply chains, offer a more promising path to preparedness for future health crisis”, she said.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 has highlighted an underlying structural problem underpinning the wide discrepancy in manufacturing capacities worldwide. Moreover, the crisis has shown the importance of diversifying global value chains, and opens a window of opportunity for Africa and Europe.

Last month, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen had announced at the G20 Global Health in Rome, the establishment of Team Europe initiative on manufacturing and access to vaccine, medicine and health technologies in Africa.

The initiative which is aimed at making Africa more independent on vaccine production initiative, is an integrated and comprehensive support package that will tackle barriers to manufacturing and access to health products and technologies in Africa from all angles, and will place the continent’s own actors and institutions at its heart.

“Local health capacities and institutions are the foundation of global health, but today Africa imports 99 percent of its vaccines and 94 percent of its medicines. This has to change.

“Team Europe will support Africa with over €1 billion and expertise to help develop its own pharmaceutical, biotech and medtech industries, and ease equitable access to quality and safe products and technologies. The Initiative will also help develop a number of regional manufacturing hubs across the continent, so that the whole of Africa can benefit”, she said.

The initiative will also help create an enabling environment for local vaccines manufacturing in Africa and tackle barriers on both supply and demand sides, backed by €1 billion from the EU budget and the European development finance institutions such as the European Investment Bank (EIB).



This amount, according to her, will be further enhanced by contributions from EU Member States.

Commissioner for International Partnerships, Jutta Urpilainen, said the Team Europe initiative will contribute to the Commission’s African partners’ efforts to improve access to affordable, life-saving health products, advance universal health coverage, and strengthen health systems.

“It will also boost skills and help create jobs and opportunities for Africa’s younger generations. Born from a key lesson learnt from this pandemic, this initiative incarnates the spirit of solidarity and mutually beneficial partnerships that the EU promotes”, he added.

In addition, the new initiative will complement existing efforts within the Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator, notably the COVAX Manufacturing Task Force.

It will be further backed up by other national, regional and global health initiatives supported by Global Europe and Commission on its part, is keen to underpin health systems and promote health security and pandemic preparedness.

Co-chair of the Africa Vaccine Delivery Alliance, Ayoade Alakija, said it was “very welcome” that the EU was taking the issue of vaccine manufacturing seriously.

Alakia noted that the EU’s intent is genuine, adding that the alliance had three sites in mind for future manufacturing centres, which include, the Institut Pasteur in Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa.

She further explained that the European Commission, the EIB and several EU member states including Germany and France are already supporting the expansion of the Institut Pasteur. She said the European officials also see prospects for boosting manufacturing in other countries, including Egypt.

The co-chair observed that the COVID-19 pandemic gives Africa a chance to free itself from aid dependency, noting that in non-pandemic years, Africa uses roughly a quarter of global vaccine production for campaigns against diseases such as measles and polio.


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